Strengthening links between UTC and Industry

Professsor Christophe Guy, the newly appointed Director, as of February 1, 2021, (equivalent to President and Vice-Chancellor) of the University of Technology of Compiegne (UTC) was previously a UTC Academic Board Member for three years. An internationally recognised scientist, Prof Guy is also an ardent supporter of university-industry relations, which he intends to strengthen within the institution while ensuring its development in training and research, but also its international outreach.

Strengthening links between UTC and Industry

Christophe Guy grew up in Villefranche de-Rouergue, a small township of 3,500inhabitants in Aveyron. It must be said that he had a 'knack' for science and it was quite natural that he joined a preparatory class at the Pierre-de-Fermat Lycée in Toulouse before admission at the Institut national supérieur de chimie industrielle (INSCI) in Rouen. This engineering school has since been transformed into the National Institute of Applied Sciences (INSA). But the call to "cross the oceans and explorer the great beyond" and do research was stronger. So, with his engineering diploma, he decided to enrol for a Master's degree at the Polytechnique-Montreal (Canada), where he gained his Ph.D.) in chemical engineering. "In fact, it was more a specialisation in process engineering, even though the actual degree bears the name of the department. Namely: chemical engineering," explains Christophe Guy.

He then returned to France for do two post doctoratecourses. "The first was at the Gaz de France research centre in Paris, since renamed Engie, and the second at the French Petroleum Institute (IFP) in Rueil-Malmaison," he says. In short, during these two post-doc periods, he was immersed in "gas and oil", he says.

He then went back to Montreal where he was appointed as a professor in the chemical engineering department of the Polytechnique-Montreal. As a research scientist, he was particularly interested in "the impact of industrial activities on the environment and the on health of those living near industrial sites", he says. This led him and one of his students to found Odotech, a spin-off company specialising in foul odour problems. "It was a first in this field," says Christophe Guy. The company quickly set up a subsidiary, Odotech France, in Lyon. The company, with its patents and its market-ready technologies were bought out a few years later by an Australian group.

Over the years, he has held various positions within the Canadian school. First as Head of Department, then Director of Research and Innovation and finally President of the school for two terms of five years each, the maximum allowed. Still in Montreal, he joined Concordia University, an English-speaking university located in the same city, at the end of his two terms as Vice-President in charge of Research and Graduate Studies as well as international relations. He stayed there for two and a half years. "At Concordia, we changed dimension. The Ecole Polytechnique, with 8,000 students and doctoral candidates, was an engineering school, even if, within the framework of partnerships with HEC-Montreal and the University of Montreal, they completed their training with subjects that were not 'pure' engineering. At Concordia, there are 50,000 students taking courses in almost every field - law, economics, science and engineering, music, theatre, literature, cinema (Xavier Dolan is one of the graduates)," explains Christophe Guy.

After Concordia University, he came to UTC, an institution that is no strange setting to him since he was one of its Academic Board Members for three years. His plans for the university ? "This will involve ensuring the development of UTC in engineering education and research; strengthening the links with industry; giving it a greater influence and finally reinforcing our international outreach and presence, in particular in South America andin Asia, and especially so in South Korea, a very advanced country technologically but also to help others which are less so, such as Vietnam, for example," he concludes.